ASBURY PARK, NJ—Firing off with “Four Simple Words” off of his latest release, Tape Deck Heart, if there was an ounce of exhaustion stifled in Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls from extensive touring, you wouldn’t have a clue. After kicking off their worldwide 2013 dates in January, they took to The Stone Pony stage on Saturday, June 8. The English ensemble delivered a high-energy set that connected with longtime fans while drawing in the new.
The night began with a very tongue-in-cheek performance by the acoustic act Beans On Toast. Opening with a mockery-filled tribute to Prince Harry, the singer-songwriter set the theme of “anything goes.” Following Beans On Toast were The Architects, a punk rock group from Kansas City who amped up the crowd even further.
The show had been completely sold out for months. Admirers who’ve been following Turner since the very beginning of his career packed The Stone Pony alongside the fans who were seeing him live for the first time. The anxiousness of the crowd finally erupted once Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls appeared on stage in their matching white button-down shirts and vigorous demeanor.
Covering a wide range of the folk punk singer’s discography, songs spanned from his 2006 EP, Campfire Punkrock, all the way to his fifth full-length, Tape Deck Heart, issued in April. During “Glory Halleluiah” from England Keep My Bones, he flipped his acoustic guitar behind his back and leaned into the crowd, singing face-to-face with those in the very front. If there’s one thing Turner has always been particularly keen on, it’s being able to break down the barrier between the crowd and the stage.
Halfway through his set, he stated the two simple rules that his avid showgoers know so well: 1) Watch out for each other, and 2) If you know the words, “fucking sing along.” The mass of fans abided, as they recited back the words to nearly every tune.
The energy was at a consistent high throughout the entire night. As the audience collectively knelt down during “Photosynthesis,” they jumped up in unison during the line, “I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up, and most of all I will not grow up.” During “Recovery,” the crowd burst out dancing, flailing their bodies while trying to simultaneously clap.
Before breaking out into “Plain Sailing Weather,” catchy with its distinctly repetitive use of the F-bomb in the chorus, Turner explained, “This is a song we don’t play too often, but somehow this setting seems appropriate.”
Not shy to the local scene, Turner also referenced a show three years prior at The Asbury Lanes where he coined the term “Asburied.” Apparently, the English rocker had reached a new level of incoherence after hanging out at the venue’s bar that night. According to Turner, the term “Asburied” refers to getting completely and inconvincibly wasted. Well, hey, at least we’re good hosts.
Inspired by his location, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” sneaked its way into the setlist, causing some New Jersey natives to nearly go into cardiac arrest from excitement. The transition between songs moved swiftly and what was an hour and a half set didn’t feel nearly as long.
The audience was graced with an extended encore, and Turner announced that he and The Sleeping Souls would be back for another U.S. tour in the fall. As far as this crowd is concerned, Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls are welcome back to get “Asburied” anytime.